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“Music that appeals to the imagination, to dreams”: Maxima Poesia live at the Espace Camac!

MAXIMA POESIA are a group whose raison d’être is to accentuate the living relationship between poetic writing and modern jazz. 

Using texts from a variety of different styles and highly distinctive authors (amongst them  Arthur Cravan, Joyce Mansour, Jacques Vaché Peter Handke and Boris Vian), Maxima Poesia seek to: “give the poem back its orality, its voice, its breath, proposing a contemporary Jazz where it can breathe”, in a musical language that combines elements of the Chanson tradition, spoken word and slam.

MAXIMA POESIA: Julien Dupont- Armstrong (bass and vocals); Anne Mispelter (harps); Gabriel Westphal (percussion); Nicholas Fargeix (clarinets) ©Malik Chaib

MAXIMA POESIA: Julien Dupont- Armstrong (bass and vocals); Anne Mispelter (harps); Gabriel Westphal (percussion); Nicholas Fargeix (clarinets) ©Malik Chaib

On 26 April, we are delighted to welcome this one-of-a-kind ensemble for a concert to the Espace Camac. 

Although the connection between poetry and music has been intrinsic from antiquity, through folk traditions and in the classical song repertory, something about the way in which Maxima Poesia holds the poetic texts in absolute primacy feels unusual. Julien Dupont-Armstrong, bassist and vocalist and (although one senses that he would resist the term ‘front-man’) he succinctly represents this unique ensemble and their artistic message:

“The links between poetry and music are almost ‘natural’: poetry is the music of words and music the poetry of sounds! Poetry inspires us in that it drives a musical writing process centred on the ‘oralisation’ of a text not originally intended to be performed vocally, as such. This pushes us towards interesting musical research.”

The group’s appearance at our Paris home is part of a national tour celebrating their latest release Une Ode à la poésie des marges (Production Collectif Ephémère / Distribution DistroKid). I ask the group what lies behind this evocative title and what listeners might expect from this exploration and mingling of forms:

“On our album, “Une Ode à  la poésie des marges” (An ode to the poetry of the margins), we showcase some relatively unknown authors, including Arthur Cravan and Joyce Mansour. Their writing is organic and dazzling.

For Julien, the die was cast early, and the opportunity to inhabit poetic texts that hold such personal meaning has informed the artistic vision of the group:  

“These authors have played a special role for me, they shook me up when I was a teenager, as did Boris Vian, who may have been better known, but during his lifetime often suffered from a lack of understanding. He was a true ‘jack-of-all-trades’ of genius.” He adds:  “In France we like to pigeonhole people, and he was just the opposite!”


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Perhaps as a group that goes wilfully against preconceptions, it is unsurprising to see slightly unusual instrumentation on the stage: Maxima Poesia includes the harp to ravishing effect. We asked them if the distinctive timbre of the harp (that we all love) brought something special to the sound world Maxima Poesia seeks to create:

“The harp brings a strong musical identity to our project, which reflects our French classical culture and our attraction to music that appeals to the imagination and dreams.

The harp has this power, just like the kora or the piano. It’s a magical instrument, and Anne defends it with enormous talent.“ Says Julien, referring to the group’s harpist, Anne Mispelter.

We are of course very proud that for so many harpists who are in search of a truly unique and malleable timbre, the Camac electro harp can bring so much in their quest: “The Camac electric harp adds a very interesting colouring to the project, and the sounds it allows us to exploit are a great source of inspiration in our songwriting, forming an integral part of the group’s sound identity.” Says Julien in praise of Anne’s DHC 32 harp.

“It’s an innovative and motivating instrument. I would add that the DHC 32 is extremely reliable, a very contemporary instrument that allows the harp to reinvent itself in today’s musical contexts.”

So we hope you’ll join us for an evening where the fusion, the very alchemy, of music and poetry creates something rare, intimate and utterly exceptional.

To book your free place now, just follow the link to our website, and we look forward to welcoming you.

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